Restaurant Review:
Jaan at the Penthouse

Sofitel Downtown, Dubai

Progressive Indian is taking the UAE by storm with a majority of food connoisseurs, us included, lapping up the distinctive amalgam of traditional Indian food with elements from international cuisines! Well, the UAE’s progressive Indian batch of restaurants gets a brand new, shiny member; Jaan at the Penthouse. Sitting pretty on the 31st floor of the Sofitel Downtown, Jaan is skippered by renowned restaurateur, Farrokh Khambata. Jaan is Farrokh’s first international venture and honestly what better place to test international waters at than Dubai? Chef Farrokh has a variety of fine-dining restaurants in Mumbai which has numerous celebrities from the country as patrons. In addition, he runs a catering company that has had the honor to cater to current Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. We got the opportunity to speak to this celebrity chef at our recent tasting and learn a bit more about Jaan from the man himself!
Now for the food; we were treated to a diversity of dishes and here’s everything we had:

Hand cut Rolls
  • Salmon Kejriwal: 75° Egg Cooked Sous Vide, Smoked Jwala Mild Indian Chili Mayo, Ikarami A Mumbai Club Style Egg Delicacy

Crudos
  • Life Of Nemo: Kuromaguro Blue Fin Tuna … Butso Style, Spiced Dashi Japanese Condiment
  • Jhaal Muri Ceviche: Yellowtail Amberjack, Indian Mangosteen, Jhaal Muri (Puffed Rice) .. A Popular Street Food From Kolkata
Small plates

  • Hunter’s Poussin: Clay Oven Cooked Young Chicken Supremes With Basil And Cumin
  • Cold Smoke Chaat: Liquid N2o Dhokla Crumble, Crispy Spinach, Kurmura Puffed Rice And House Chutney
  • Naanza: Kodai Camembert…Burnt Chili…Truffle Naanza (Naan And Pizza)
  • Hokkaido Mushrooms And Truffle Kofta: Eringi...Reishi…Shiitake Inside A Savory Truffle Kofta Ball
  • Turkey Bacon Wrapped Prawns: Grilled Prawns In Narangi Sriracha Spiced Orange Reduction
Mains

  • Sizzling Chole Hommus With Amritsari Kulcha: Hommus With Whole Chickpeas And Punjabi Spices Stuffed And Leavened Breakfast Bread
  • Normandie Dairy Dal: Black Dal Enhanced With The World’s Best Cream And Butter
  • Dhaba Highway Restaurant Butter Chicken: Hand Pulled Butter Chicken In A Classic Style
  • Knuckle Of Grass Fed Lamb With Miso Vindaloo Masala: A Modern Style Vindaloo Goan Preparation With Miso
  • Potato Dauphinoise with Jhaal Muri

Rice & accompaniments

  • Soft, Tender And Mild Arabic Malai Reshmi Murgh Biryani
  • Jaan Bread Basket
Dessert

  • Nirvana: Saffron Panna Cotta With Thandai Mousse And Raspberry Pour

Don’t these arrangements sound absolutely fantastic (and some slightly intimidating as well)? Clearly, and as per the Chef himself, the food at Jaan isn’t just about theatrics and intrigue but tons of research has gone into creating the the menu at Jaan. Right from the meat, chicken, seafood and Middle Eastern ingredients on offer to international components, Chef Farrokh himself tried and tested combinations and permutations. Presentations were awe-striking as expected and had us squealing like excited children as and when things were placed on our table. I mean drinks with actual fire coming out of them, a seafood dish perched atop a luminous fishbowl with real fish swimming in it, chicken cubes skewered in an arrow that was so reminiscent of the Hunger Games, so on and so forth!

The food tasted great and looked even better but our favorites from the selection we tried were the following:

  • Salmon Kejriwal (Nothing to do with the Chief Minister of Delhi)
  • Life of Nemo: This is the one atop the fishbowl, and yes we went through a conflict of emotions while eating the dead friend of the live fish, we still enjoyed it a lot!
  • Jhaal Muri Ceviche: A delight for seafood fans!
  • Hunter’s Poussin: The one that reminded us of Hunger Games; texture, taste top-notch!
  • Cold Smoke Chaat: This arrived in a classic jewellery box draped with pearls that I was so tempted to keep!
  • Naanza: After trying this one, a combination of Naan and Pizza, I would love this to be present in every bread basket I am served at an Indian or Italian restaurant.
  • Turkey Bacon Wrapped Prawns: Those who aren’t fond of seafood would enjoy this one as the taste of the prawns is perfectly balanced by the turkey bacon.
  • Dhaba Highway restaurant butter chicken: This came in a tiffin box with a cute, cheeky message on it and indeed, if you have eaten at a Dhaba in North India before, this would conjure up memories of that experience.

Knuckle of grass fed lamb with miso vindaloo masala: One of us is a lamb lover while the other, not so much, yet we both loved this dish!
Soft, tender and mild Arabic Malai Reshmi Murgh Biryani: Ah! This one retains all the awesomeness of the traditional Biryani but with some delicious, melt in the mouth creamy chicken!

We paired the food with some delicious cocktails including the Fire ‘N’ Ice and the Smoking Cosmo which akin to the food were creatively presented and perfect trimmings. After all the food intake, we could only manage one dessert between us and we’re glad we opted for the Nirvana. Ending the meal with this pretty dessert definitely helped us attain some level of Nirvana (please excuse the pun but it had to be done) and we found it even tastier sans the raspberry pour (neither of us enjoy raspberry based desserts).

Jaan at the Penthouse is a feast for the eyes too; the décor is an impeccable mix of chic and sophisticated, with warm lighting and floor to ceiling tinted windows that offer a view (during the day) of Downtown Dubai. One side of the restaurant features a kaleidoscopic wall plastered with graffiti and a portrait of John Lennon, quite reminiscent of the Lennon Wall in Prague! Splendid service and an alluring ambiance make way for an exquisite dining experience at Jaan at the Penthouse; a restaurant that ticks all the boxes!